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One of the drawbacks of working with recycled yarn is that I never know if a certain yarn is appropriate for a project until I test it out a bit. Most patterns come with yarn recommendations, but they’re more like: “2 skeins of Lion Brand Wool Ease” rather than “2 sleeves of an American Eagle wool/cashmere blend sweater.” I could probably solve this by swatching all my mystery yarns with various sized hooks, but the truth is, I’m far too lazy and nonchalant about my crochet projects.

Take this cardigan, for example.
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It began with me squinting at the Stepping Stones Cardigan by Kristin Omdal in an old copy of Interweave crochet, wondering if I had the yarn.

Actually, perhaps it more accurately began, a few months beforehand, as a boring sweater, marked down from $1 to a mere $.50. After washing and unraveling it, I recorded it in my Ravelry stash list with the following detailed notes: “100% wool. Dk weight??” Great. Resolution: take better yarn notes.

Thankfully, Ravelry gave the wraps per inch (wpi) of the recommended yarn. The pattern called for a kind of yarn with 11 wpi, but my green yarn came in at 13-14 wpi. Since the pattern called for an H hook, I figured I’d just drop down a hook size to a G and go up a pattern size.

Of course it couldn’t be that easy. The collar proved to be far too big around, so I went back down to my actual size. Then the yarn quickly showed itself to be awful when worked up in the spike stitch the pattern called for. Instead of creating an interestingly textured, drapey fabric, it came out more like bullet proof armor**. I compensated by alternating single crochet stitches with chain stitches, making the single crochet in the chain spaces of the previous row. Solid enough not to leave visible gaps, but flexible enough for the ruffly draping I needed in the shoulders.

Essentially, in making this sweater, I ignored any part of the pattern that told me specific stitch counts. I worked from my impression of where it was going, the measurements given on a diagram, and a lot of trying it on to figure out increases and decreases.

I lied, actually. This isn’t really a finished object. Something’s wonky with the button band and holes – and just using the buttons I took off another sweater didn’t help. I’m considering ripping out the band and redoing it without the ribbing. It shouldn’t take me more than a couple hours of work.

*Finished Object
**perhaps a slight exaggeration

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